Cyclone Yaas: more than a million evacuated as storm hits India’s east coast

Cyclone Yaas: more than a million evacuated as storm hits India’s east coast

india,Cyclone Yaas,Odisha ,West Bengal,Cyclone Tauktae,Kolkata airport,West Bengal state minister Bankim Chandra Hazra,harbouchanews

Winds snap power lines and kill two as residents in Odisha and West Bengal scramble for safety

More than 1.2 million people have evacuated low-lying areas of India’s east coast as Cyclone Yaas made landfall on Wednesday.

A week after Cyclone Tauktae claimed 155 lives in western India, wild weather has already caused two deaths and inflicted damage to homes amid heavy rain and high winds rains in Odisha and West Bengal states.

The Indian meteorological department said landfall began around 9am (3.30am GMT) on Wednesday and warned that it would generate waves higher than rooftops in some areas.

Coastal areas experienced wind gusts up to 155km/h (95mph) and pounding rain.

“We have been experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds since last night,” said Bibhu Prasad Panda, a resident of Balasore district in the storm’s path. “Several trees have been uprooted. The cyclone has also led to snapping of overhead electricity cables.”

A tornado snapped electricity lines that electrocuted two people and damaged 40 houses in West Bengal’s Hooghly district on Tuesday, an official said.

Kolkata airport was shut until 8pm on Wednesday and train services were cancelled before the storm as a precaution, the railroad department said.

The cyclone has dumped more than 17cm (6.5in) of rain in Chandabali and Paradip regions of Odisha state since Tuesday, the meteorological department said.

A record 4,800 disaster workers had been positioned in the two states, equipped with tree and wire cutters, emergency communications, inflatable boats and medical aid, the national disaster response force said.

At least 20 districts in West Bengal state were expected to feel the brunt of the storm. Fishing trawlers and boats were told to take shelter.

The storm “is a terrible blow for many people in coastal districts whose families have been struck down by Covid-19 infections and deaths”, West Bengal state minister Bankim Chandra Hazra said.

“This cyclone spells double trouble for millions of people in India as there is no respite from Covid-19,” said Udaya Regmi, South Asia head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Odisha’s chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, appealed to people being moved to cyclone shelters to wear double masks and maintain social distancing. “We have to face both the challenges simultaneously,” Patnaik said.

A year ago, the most powerful cyclone in more than a decade hit eastern India. Nearly 100 people died in Cyclone Amphan, which flattened villages and destroyed farms in eastern India and Bangladesh.

“We haven’t been able to fix the damage to our home from the last cyclone. Now another cyclone is coming, how will we stay here?” said Samitri, who uses only one name.

the guardian

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